Winter is coming – but is your car ready for winter?

Car Driving in Winter Snow

For many of us, winter is associated with Christmas, family gatherings and a proudly burning fireplace, which keeps us warm on a cold evening.

However, for those of us who drive, winter might not carry such positive connotations, actually quite the contrary: anxiety associated with driving on icy, snow covered roads with vision blurred by a cloud of fog.

According to National Statistics for Scotland, between 2011 and 2016 there were 446 road traffic accidents recorded due to snow, frost and ice on the roads.

While the weather conditions can be regarded as a contributing factor to all accidents, ultimately, it is the driver’s responsibility to remain vigilant and prepare the vehicle well in advance of the hazardous road conditions.

Getting your car ready for winter

Weather in Scotland can be unpredictable. You should always plan ahead to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Winter car service

First of all, make sure that your vehicle is ready for the challenging weather conditions. It is recommended that all drivers should have their vehicles fully serviced before winter.

If, for any reason, you are unable to have your vehicle serviced, you should make sure to carry out the routine winter car checks yourself.

Winter car checks

The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) suggests paying particular attention to the following:

1. Car lights

Your lights should be clean and in a good working order. This includes reflectors and registration plate lights.

You want to be seen on the road and remain safe at all times.

2. Car windows

Your windscreen, wiper blades and other windows should be clean at all times. Make sure that all windows are clear of snow and ice and your visibility is not hampered in any way.

3. Car fluids

You should make sure that fluids such as windscreen wash, oil and anti-freeze are kept topped up at all times.

You should also take appropriate steps to prevent the fluids from freezing.

4. Tyres

Police Scotland recommends that tyres are checked on a weekly basis to make sure that they are suitable for the weather conditions and are at the correct pressure.

Remember that this includes your spare tyre.

Failure to maintain your tyres may result in a fine of up to £2,500 and 3 penalty points per tyre.

For those living in remote areas, it might be worthwhile purchasing winter tyres. Winter tyres have a special tread pattern designed to retain flexibility in low temperatures and enhance braking manoeuvres.

5. Brakes

You should make sure that your brakes are in a working order and the battery is fully charged.

6. Emergency kit

It is also wise to keep an emergency kit in your car, especially when you are planning a longer journey.

Think about what you would need in the most extreme situations; such as being stranded in your car overnight due to a snow storm.

What would you need to keep yourself warm and hydrated? Blankets, torches and some water supplies might be a good starting point.

At Digby Brown, we see too often car accidents happening in the winter season which could have been prevented. We encourage everyone to ensure their vehicles are ready for winter weather conditions.